EVOLVE 67

August 20, 2016

From the Saint Finbar Catholic Gymnasium in Brooklyn, NY

Lenny Leonard is your host

Tonight’s matches include Cody Rhodes vs. Chris Hero, TJP & Fred Yehi & Tracy Williams vs. Drew Galloway & EC3 & DUSTIN with the EVOLVE Tag Team Titles on the line and Drew Gulak vs. Timothy Thatcher for the EVOLVE Title.

 

Leonard runs down the show then mentions a special guest commentator for the main event as he welcomes Joey Styles as he heads out to the ring. Styles says while being rusty, Lenny and himself might be the best announcing us fans hear all weekend as Leonard jokes he will get fired before even making it to the WWE.

 

Kobe Durst vs. Ethan Page

Durst is short and a bit doughy. Almost resembles a mini Chris Hero. Page knocks Durst down then skies him with a backdrop. Page stays in control and takes Durst down with a Mafia Kick. Durst comes back with an elbow smash then heads up top but Page cuts him off. They fight up top as that ends with Page flipping him off with a slam before getting the win with a package piledriver (2:52) 1/4*.

Thoughts: Not much of a match and Durst never got a chance to show anything so I was unable to form an opinion on him.

 

After the match, Page tells Johnny Gargano that they have one weekend left until he says farewell. He then wants Gargano to tell everyone that he forgives him and will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

 

Peter Kaasa vs. Tony Nese

These two start off on the mat as they go back-and-forth. The pace picks up now as they trade backdrops before ending in a stalemate then start trading punches. Nese kicks him down after using the Matrix as he takes control of the match. Kasaa makes a comeback with a springboard hurricarana then takes Nese to the floor with a clothesline. Kasaa takes Nese out with a tope con hilo then rolls him back inside and gets two with a running shooting star press. They trade more punches until Kasaa uses a scoop slam. They fight over a suplex as Nese drops Kasaa over the top rope and takes him off with a running knee strike as both men are down. Nese sends Kasaa over the top rope and flies out with a tope then runs in and hits another one as the crowd applauds. Back inside, Nese grounds Kasaa as we get a mild dueling chant. Kasaa breaks out and runs wild, getting a nearfall off of a snap suplex. Kasaa hits an Angle Slam then heads up top but took too long as Nese cuts him off and hits a superplex. They slug it out on their knees then get up and work a reversal sequence until Kasaa gets a nearfall with a one-armed powerbomb. Nese comes back and catches Kaasa with a Michinoku Driver as both men are down. Nese heads up top but misses a 450 splash as Kaasa heads up but he misses a shooting star press so Nese heads back up and hits the 450 for the win (12:55) **1/2.

Thoughts: Some of this was good but it died towards the end and the finishing sequence was weak. This was more about moves and athleticism than telling a story in the ring. Kaasa did manage to get applause after he got up though as he showed some promise this weekend. It also didnt help that the crowd got distracted and cheered when Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, and Tyler Breeze entered the building.

 

Tommy End vs. Matt Riddle

The crowd went nuts for Riddle. They square off as Leonard plays up Riddle’s injured arm from his match at the last show against Timothy Thatcher as Riddle sells that before the bell rings. Riddle takes End down and hits a few knee smashes. Riddle then destroys End in the corner and fires up the crowd. Riddle hits a pair of deadlift gutwrench suplexes and covers for two. Riddle now works the arm then stops End’s chest while grabbing both of his arms. End rolls out for a breather then heads in as Riddle lights him up. End fights back and knocks Riddle down with a boot to the head as a mild “f--- him up, Tommy” chant breaks out. Riddle comes back with a fisherman’s buster as both men are down. They get up as End blocks an attack then takes Riddle down with a knee smash after a flurry of strikes. End stomps Riddle’s injured arm and goes to work on that. Riddle comes back and applies a kneebar but End makes it to the ropes. End takes Riddle down with a roundhouse kick then they trade both strikes until End wins that battle. End hits a double stomp from the top rope then gets two with a kick to the face. End starts kicking Riddle in the chest as Riddle tells him to bring it on. Riddle hulks up and blocks a kick then catches End with a tombstone for two. They fight on the mat as Riddle escapes from a kneebar then locks on the Bromission for the win (12:30) ****.

Thoughts: Excellent match. Both guys match up well due to similar styles in the ring too. End also left his armband in the ring and left to a loud applause as he will be reporting to NXT in a few weeks. His striking style will be refreshing in NXT. Riddle is a star in the making and someone all wrestling fans should familiarize themselves with because he is a revelation.

 

WWE CWC Spotlight Match: Cedric Alexander vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

The crowd chants for both men. They start off on the mat as neither guy can gain an advantage. Both guys continue to go back-and-forth until Alexander hits a headscissors and a dropkick. Alexander chops Sabre down in the corner then knocks him down with an elbow smash. Alexander lands on the apron then Sabre cuts him off on a springboard move and takes control as he works the leg with some nifty submission work. Sabre then cranks Alexander’s neck and talks a bit of trash with the fans before going back to work. Sabre avoids a dropkick and acts cocky as he hears some boos. Sabre steps on Alexander’s hand then stretches him out as Alexander is screaming in pain. Sabre cuts off a comeback and stretches Alexander out in the ropes. Alexander fights back and takes Sabre outside and hits a tope. Back in the ring, Alexander gets two with an enziguiri. Sabre comes back and hits a DDT but takes his time as Alexander fights back with elbow smashes. Sabre blocks a powerbomb attempt with a triangle hold but Alexander is able to lift him up for a powerbomb. They trade pinfalls until Alexander hits a Michinoku Driver for two.  A “this is awesome” chant breaks out as Sabre cuts off Alexander in midair with an uppercut. Sabre gets two with the Penalty Kick as he is in disbelief. They trade strikes until Alexander hits a brainbuster for a nearfall after a reversal sequence. Sabre applies the Octopus Hold and works that on the mat while kicking Alexander in the back of the head and gets the win (15:15) ****1/4. After the match, both guys hug then Sabre tells the crowd it would be awfully nice if they could stay quiet for a minute as that gets some boos. Sabre tells us for now on, his purpose is to be the champion.

Thoughts: Another awesome match. ZSJ showed a lot of personality as a heel in this match too. He can play a condescending heel quite well and this is a welcome addition to his character, which was lacking for the most part. Alexander showcased his tremendous athleticism as he is continuing to impress after leaving Ring of Honor, where he was being wasted.

 

Chris Hero vs. Cody Rhodes

The crowd starts up with a dueling chant as the wrestlers play off of that for a bit. Cody offers a handshake but Hero slaps him in the face. Cody comes back with a dropkick and still looks for a handshake but Hero ducks outside as Cody goes outside and shakes the hands of fans in the front row. They are back inside as Hero now offers a handshake but Cody does not want it as they fight in the corner. Cody hits a delayed vertical front suplex as the fans applaud. He stomps Hero’s hand and takes him outside where he lays in some shots. Hero then picks up a guardrail but Cody takes it and gives it to a fan, allowing Hero to hit a cheap shot. They are in the crowd as Hero piles a bunch of chairs. They are now up on the bar where Cody smacks him in the face with a beer and Hero ends up whacking his head on the ceiling after that as they continue to brawl in the crowd. Hero sits Cody in a chair and takes him down with a jumping elbow drop. They are back in the ring now where Hero beats on Cody. Hero then tweaks his knee as Leonard brings up that it was injured before the match. Hero takes a break outside then heads in as the ref checks on his knee again but Hero used it to catch Cody with a kick to the face. Hero lays into Cody then tosses him outside and yells “we don’t want you here” as he heads out and roughs him up. Cody attacks Hero from behind and they head back inside where Hero takes him down with a roaring elbow for two. Hero backs Cody into the corner and hammers away. Hero then heads out to the crowd and takes the giant Dusty Rhodes head from a fan and uses it to hit Cody as the crowd boos. Hero then heads up top with the Dusty head but Cody climbs up for a superplex as both men are down. Hero clutches his knee but Cody kicks it then fires up. He gets two with a facebuster but tries a moonsault as Hero turns that into a cutter. Hero gets two with another roaring elbow then drops Cody after he got two with a backslide. Cody fights back but it has little effect as Hero cuts him off. They trade bicycle kicks then Cody gets two with a disaster kick. Hero counters a Cross Rhodes and hits a short piledriver as that gets two. Roaring elbow gets two. Hero gets up slowly then tries for the Cross Rhodes but Cody reverses it and hits his move for another nearfall. Cody is hunched over on the ropes as the ref tends to Hero then Drew Galloway runs out with a cowbell and hits Cody in the face. Hero sends Cody in the corner and hits three roaring elbows before hitting the Death Blow for the win (18:20) ***1/4.

Thoughts: Good match. Cody still hasn’t really adapted to the EVOLVE style but he is a solid WWE-style worker and able to have a decent match, regardless. The end also establishes Cody as a face against Galloway’s army, who does not believe Cody belongs in the promotion.

 

After the match, Hero calls for the mic. He says this is a lesson for everyone that unless you are the greatest of all-time, do not put his name on your “silly-ass lists,” referencing the list Cody tweeted out after leaving the WWE on stuff he wants to accomplish.  He leaves as Galloway calls Cody a naive fool and thought they were brothers. Galloway tells Cody you cannot become an Independent success on your own without getting help from the master and he is either with them or against them but Drew Gulak runs in and attacks Galloway, who bails. Cody is helped to the back as Gulak calls out Thatcher to start their title match. I liked Hero & Galloway on the mic here but the crowd did not seem to care at all when Gulak called out Thatcher.

 

EVOLVE Championship Match: Drew Gulak vs. Timothy Thatcher (c)

These two start off on the mat as Styles is on commentary. Leonard also notes that Thatcher has never beaten Gulak in EVOLVE. They continue to go back-and-forth and get minimal applause after a stalemate. That’s never a good sign. Thatcher keeps trying to work the arm then Gulak counters with a crossface as Thatcher reaches the ropes. Leonard puts over Thatcher as a loner as Styles cracks a joke how going on social media can be a bad career move. They are back on the mat again going back-and-forth as Thatcher beats on Gulak as he once again tries to work the arm as these guys are losing the crowd. Thatcher uses a crossface but Gulak escapes and sends Thatcher outside with a pair of dropkicks. Gulak flies out with a tope but they head back in as Thatcher sends Gulak to the floor and uses a hanging armbreaker. Thatcher continues to act aggressive and almost gets himself disqualified but the crowd does not care one bit. Gulak fights back but Thatcher goes back to the cross armbreaker as the crowd shits all over this match. Thatcher hits an uppercut in the corner then Gulak finally makes a comeback with a Saito suplex that gets two. Gulak tries a piledriver but didn’t quite get it as that gets two as this match is bombing hard. Thatcher hits a deadlift gutwrench superplex as that gets two. Gulak fights back and locks in a Dragon Sleeper as the crowd cheers but Thatcher reaches his foot on the ropes as the crowd boos. They trade strikes as Gulak kicks out at one after a pair of headbutts. Thatcher lands another headbutt then gets the win as the crowd boos (21:22) 1/2*.

Thoughts: My lord this was awful. The story was supposed to end with Thatcher redeeming himself and getting his title belt back after running through Catchpoint but here he wrestled as the heel as the storyline ended up as a dud.  Plus, Catchpoint is not a face faction so the dynamic was even worse. The action was technically fine I suppose but 21 minutes of grappling was too much and it was all repetitive. This was even more evidence why he should have lost to Riddle. This whole storyline, which had promised, ended up bombing hard with Thatcher’s stock at an all-time low. On commentary, Styles seemed out of place and added nothing.

 

After the match, they stare each other down from their knees as the crowd hates Thatcher. Gulak then goes to hand Thatcher the belt but Thatcher grabs the mic and says no one cares what he has to say as he will hurt whoever held his belt as he boots Gulak in the face and chokes him out. Tracy Williams comes out and stares down Thatcher but DUSTIN runs in with a chop block as Galloway and EC3 are out as Thatcher watches Williams get beat down. Galloway then wants to talk to Styles and brings him in the ring. He tells Styles they have an opening as EC3 says they need a mouthpiece as he does the “oh my god” impression of Styles. However, Fred Yehi & TJP run into the ring. Galloway flips out and says he was not finished and demands Styles give an answer. Gulak and Williams are carried to the back. Yehi grabs the mic and calls his opponents morons before challenging them to a No DQ match as this is underway.

 

EVOLVE Tag Team Title Match: Drew Galloway & EC3 & DUSTIN (c) vs. TJP & Fred Yehi

The actual champs are Galloway & DUSTIN. This starts off with a brawl outside after Yehi hit a senton from the apron. In the ring, TJP takes Galloway down with a missile dropkick but quickly gets outnumbered. Ethan Page runs out and takes Galloway out with a boot as he is alone in the ring and wants to face Galloway. EC3 & Galloway take out TJP & Yehi then Page flies out with a tope. We get some really slow-paced brawling outside as the crowd seems disinterested. Back inside, Page hits Galloway with the RK-Ego then EC3 takes him out and hits Yehi with an angle slam. We get more back-and-forth stuff that ends with all six men down. Yehi puts EC3 in the Koji Clutch until Galloway breaks it up with a chair shot. Page sends Galloway into the chair with a drop toehold but crashes on the chair after missing an RK-Ego. Galloway gets two with the Future Shock as TJP broke up the pin. TJP dumps Galloway outsided and takes him out with a pescado. DUSTIN flies out with a tope con hilo then mixes it up with TJP in the ring. TJP heads up top for but Galloway throws the title belt in his face as DUSTIN hits the Awful Waffle and the finish gets mixed up as the ref said TJP’s shoulder was up so DUSTIN puts him away with a piledriver (10:07) *.

Thoughts: This was an unfocused mess for the most part and the finish seemed really f----- up. Catchpoint is only the face here by default because its against Galloway’s crusade. It was a match style you would have seen at the end of ECW/beginning of RoH. No one cared about Page running in to take Williams’ place and the crowd, which was killed by the awful title match, was dead here too.

 

After the match, Cody Rhodes runs out for the save as Galloway’s army retreats. Joey Styles heads back into the ring and tells Galloway he should be happy to work for a promotion were fans actually have to pay to get tickets, which is referencing TNA. A “f--- TNA” chant breaks out then Styles makes fun of Billy Corgan’s TNA investment and says he would have made a better investment buying an actual smashed pumpkin. He then says on September 11th, Cody is scheduled to face Johnny Gargano but how about making it a three way with Galloway & Hero teaming up to face Cody & Johnny Gargano. Cody then tells the fans to give Styles applause and talks about his wife and how they will have sex tonight. He then says no matter what he was born a wrestler and will die a wrestler. He then thanks the fans and says like them, he grew up a wrestling fan. The Cody & Styles face promos at the end were not that special and I thought Styles’ was very lame.

 

Final Thoughts: This show had two great matches but the final two matches were just awful. The EVOLVE title needs to leave Thatcher’s hands as the promotion managed to screw up a redemption storyline. With a few talents leaving for the WWE, EVOLVE needs guys to step up. Riddle should be the star as he is just incredible. Getting the belt off of Thatcher is needs to happen ASAP too. After a hot streak since WrestleMania weekend, EVOLVE hit a slump during their SummerSlam weekend showcase. I’d watch the Riddle/End and ZSJ/Alexander matches and skip the rest.

 

Here is my schedule for the next several days:

Thursday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Santino

Friday: WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event 1/7/89

Saturday: Mid-South Wrestling 3/18/82

Sunday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/8/89

Monday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 1/14/89

Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 1/15/89

Wednesday: PWG Thirteen 7/29/16